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Long meetings

(81 Posts)
Mosschopz Sun 03-Mar-13 20:58:17

I'm an assistant head in large secondary school. Senior Leadership meetings are Tuesday nights 3-5pm usually, but often go on til 5.30-5.45. If I leave at 5pm I can get to nursery to collect DS (2yo) before closing time but that means missing the end of the meeting so I usually ask DH to leave work early that night and get him. He usually has to make up the flexitime by working later the rest of the week (and often Saturdays) OR swap with others (if possible) so it's not great but it's what we feel we have to do, like other working parents. I don't want others on the team at work to see me as not pulling my weight as they all stay until the bitter end even though at least three of them have kids under the age of 5 (BUT they have wives who do the pick-ups!).

AIBU to tell the head staying after 5pm has to be the exception rather than the rule for us as it's really awkward to do it every week? He seems ok with it so far, he hasn't said anything to me, but does have a good old 'general' moan about the staff being slack every week at that meeting!

Incidentally, I bust a gut for the place and work every evening of the week after putting DS to bed.

cozietoesie Sun 03-Mar-13 21:03:59

YANBU - absolutely. Most meetings are longer than they need be because that's a 'badge of honour' which shows just how 'hard working' you are. A huge proportion of them could be conducted in less than half the time. The others will probably privately bless you - sadly, while likely tut-tutting if asked.

Euphemia France Sun 03-Mar-13 21:05:23

YANBU. I think 5pm should be the cut-off.

My HT had a go at me for leaving a meeting at 4.45pm; when I explained that it was owing to childcare (I couldn't use my usual route owing to snow, had to go the longer route) she suggested I make other arrangements for when there's a staff meeting. Erm ... the out of school care I pay for is the arrangement I make so that I can work! DH works long days too; I can leave at 5pm at the absolute latest, any later is an unreasonable ask, IMO, given the hours we put in.

Mosschopz Sun 03-Mar-13 21:11:56

Euphemia you are so right!

Jeez, you know I totally expected a flaming, but after discussing this with a colleague who basically said IWBU (she has no kids) I am seeing this as it is: a waste of a good hour I could be spending with DS.

I say at the start of all meetings that I will be leaving promptly at the scheduled end. It helps to say that up front in order to move the relevent agenda points along.

Is there a formal chair of the meeting? I think implementing that can make a big difference.

cozietoesie Sun 03-Mar-13 21:16:43

And what would be really funny if it wasn't sad is that you're all teachers - and presumably the rest of the meeting participants would have a conniption of anxiety and sympathy if a parent presented themselves with the same issues.

hmm

SomethingOnce Sun 03-Mar-13 21:17:39

YANBU.

And isn't it almost always the case that regular meetings that overrun do so because one or more attendees loooove the sound of their own voice and take hours to say something that could be said in minutes?

cozietoesie Sun 03-Mar-13 21:19:08

Generally, yes, Something.

Catmint Sun 03-Mar-13 21:23:17

Does the head chair the meetings? Skilfully? Either the chairing or the agenda setting is wrong if it so frequently runs so far over.

And using people's precious time to moan over old ground is just awful.

Yanbu!

Mosschopz Sun 03-Mar-13 21:31:24

Yes, the head chairs and often admits to his own 'going off on one' though actually this kind of meeting seems common in education (the timings AND the slagging off of staff!) in my experience. He's acting though, so god hope for change with new blood if we get it.

MidniteScribbler Mon 04-Mar-13 02:44:27

Both U and UR. Long meetings are the pits. But would it really kill your husband to do one nursery pick up a week?

Tenacity Mon 04-Mar-13 06:31:13

YANBU.
You finish at five so leave at five (unless it's a emergency). Why are you passively hanging around every week inconveniencing your family in the process? The fact the meeting is overrunning every week shows a total disrespect for others on the part of the Chair.
Once in a blue moon is understandable, but for this to happen every week is ridiculous.
You have a life outside work, and work has no right impose on your household/time in this way.
If there is a lot to discuss, why can't the meeting start a bit earlier perhaps?
To be frank, there seems to some elements of covert bullying in all this, with others afraid to tow the line.

Glittertwins Mon 04-Mar-13 06:36:59

YANBU, whoever is chairing the meeting is not doing it very well if they can't keep to the structure and timekeeping.

MammaTJ Mon 04-Mar-13 06:37:00

Ask them how they would feel if someone due to finish work at 3.20 so they could pick their DC up from school at 3.30 stayed on for a meeting. They would end up keeping children they shouldn't have, the same as your CCP.

Tenacity Mon 04-Mar-13 06:38:52

MidniteScribbler: But would it really kill your husband to do one nursery pick up a week?

But this is not about the OP's husband. This is about work being unreasonable in its expectations.

Mosschopz Mon 04-Mar-13 06:46:56

Midnitescribbler We have a fair system as DH does drop off every day, and this is not about him. The meeting as far as I know doesn't have an ending time so it's not really 'over-running' as such..just rambling on. It takes us a LONG time to make decisions unless someone threatens to leave

Euphemia France Mon 04-Mar-13 06:51:11

What my HT doesn't see are all the arrangements we put in place to allow me to work. The out of school care, my neighbour taking DD every morning, DH and I sharing pick-ups depending on which of us has the longer day, DH usually being the one to take days off if DD is ill as he's more senior than I am and has more flexibility.

She sees none of that. She never knows about most of the things I do so that my work can carry on as normal, so it pisses me off when she sees fit to comment on my childcare arrangements!

Our meetings never start on time. What's the point in scheduling meetings ten minutes after the end of the school day, when staff have parents to talk to, uncollected children to deal with, etc? We sit there for twenry minutes before everyone arrives! Crazy!

Euphemia France Mon 04-Mar-13 06:51:25

^twenty

Glittertwins Mon 04-Mar-13 06:51:41

Meetings should have an agenda so that everyone knows what is up for discussion and which has an end point, just like your lessons. How could you be expected to teach if there was no finish time to a lesson?

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Mar-13 06:54:00

Oh god, a meeting with no clear end time? What a recipe for disaster. Do SLT get no training in how to be effective leaders or run effective meetings?
I suggest you google 'how to run effective meetings' which will no doubt have 'clear end time' as one of the points, along with 'sticking to the agenda'. Then print it out and give it to the chair in the spirit of making things more effective.
Could you offer to chair the meetings? Someone who needs to be out on time would be a much more effective chair than someone who wants to just ramble on.

Mendeleyev Mon 04-Mar-13 06:54:33

Teacher here and I feel your pain. I used to be on the H&S committee at my last school which met once per half term. Badly run school, badly run meetings that were dominated by (non teaching) staff and governors with nothing better to do with their time and loved the sound of their own voice. I feel your pain! I managed to bring 2 children into the world in the time it took them to organise getting a pair of gates put on the tennis court for fire drills. Sheesh. An end time should be set and stuck to IMO. I work somewhere now that does that and it is soooo much better in meetings.

Mendeleyev Mon 04-Mar-13 06:55:54

X-post with giraffe and glitter re the end times!

GingerPCatt Mon 04-Mar-13 07:04:28

My rule is if you're not being paid or given time off in lieu for extra time at work, then you have no obligation to stay.

Littleturkish Mon 04-Mar-13 07:26:38

I once worked in a school like this! Hated it. I was without child at the time, but would be so frustrated at the ineffectual use of time and dithering and random tangents.

I've found this ineffective use of time was most common with people who did not want to go home! Whereas I feel, if you're at school until 7 or 8 you are WASTING time. Effective use of time is more valuable than someone who will spend hours and hours needlessly at school.

FierceBadIggi Mon 04-Mar-13 07:57:11

Seriously, offer to chair the meetings. Not good practice for HT to chair. Then start on time, push everyone forward and wind up at ten to five. Does the agenda have timings for items?
The only thing is would have to say that's on the negative side, is that I've never known AHTs who always, without exception, had to be out of school at 5. It does seem rather early for every day of every week. Are you in particularly early in the morning?
But if you stay late I still wouldn't see this meeting as a good use of your time!

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